May 16-22, 2004 was National EMS Week. Our local volunteer ambulance service had an open house for the week. Between our natural weather patterns in this area and some convenient local natural emergencies in very recent history, I decided this area was ripe for a dose of Preparedness 101. So for my contribution to the open house, I set up a display of a "72-Hour Bag." Thatís a BOB in Rubicon-ese.
We figure we had about sixty people come by during our four-day open house. In addition to the display I posted pictures of, I gave our visitors, and a few ambulance crewmembers, the following handout.
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Why Should You Carry a 72-Hour Bag?
In the event of a natural disaster such as a tornado, a flood or a severe winter storm, it can take local, state or federal relief agencies three days or more - 72 hours - to come to the aid of victims.
To paraphrase Ben Franklin, an ounce of preparation might prevent a ton of discomfort.
The American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security are now recommending you keep emergency supplies in your house so you can be self-sufficient for up to two weeks or longer. This includes food, water and equipment so you can provide the necessities of life: air, water, shelter, warmth and energy long enough to get yourself out of the predicament, or long enough for others to bring those necessities to you.
The 72-Hour Bag is designed to allow you to be self-sufficient for 72 hours from your car.
This sample list shows the types of things you should include.
Remember, you should customize the bag to suit your familyís needs.
For More Information
There are many thousands of Internet Web Sites that address the issues of preparedness for emergencies. The following are a small sampling of what is available for more information on these topics. If you do not have access to the Internet or are not comfortable doing an Internet search for yourself, remember that public libraries in this area usually have Internet access and have personnel available to help you find this information.
American Red Cross
Red Cross Family Disaster Plan
Red Cross Preparedness Kit
Red Cross Emergency Handbook
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Homeland Security Information
72 Hour Bag Contents
Being Prepared for Emergencies
Flashlight with batteries
Whistle (for distress signaling)
Space blankets (for each person)
Parachute cord, 50 feet
Fire Starter Balls
Tear gas spray
Pen & Paper
Bandanas (one orange, one other)
First Aid Kit
Emergency medications (heart medicine, insulin, etc.)
Money - $20 in small bills
Coins for telephone calls
Emergency survival cards
Small sewing kit
Deck of Playing Cards
(One set for each person)
Add in winter:
Fleece pants (or sweat suit pants)
Bar of soap
Waterless Hand Sanitizer
Metal Cup (for each person)
Knife, Fork, & Spoon (for each person)
Extra flashlight with batteries
Chemical light sticks
CB Radio or cell phone
Battery powered radio with extra batteries
Also include anything special you need for your children, elderly or handicapped family members.
Other Vehicle Tips
Always carry an emergency tool kit and repair supplies.
Keep emergency road flares in you car to use when you break down. They can also be used to signal for help.
Never let your carís gas tank get lower than Ĺ full. If power goes out, service stations canít pump gas. Carry an empty 1-gallon gas can. Never store gas in your trunk.
Always keep road maps or a Road Atlas in your car in case the road you know is blocked by the disaster. The map will help you find your way around the problem.
In winter, keep an ice scraper, a small shovel and an old sleeping bag or extra blanket in your car.
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Remember, this was a display targeted at the general public, new to the idea of preparedness. I tried to keep things. I used politically correct websites like the American Red Cross, FEMA, and the Dept. of Homeland Security, specifically, their sites for preparedness plans and kits. This way I gave more perceived credibility to the idea.
This was not a static display. I was at the station at all times (16 hour over four days). I explained the concept to each person or family that came to the station. I let them handle, examine, question, etc. the whole display.
I was pleased with the response I got. Sure there were some people that got that glazed-eyed look pretty quick. Pure sheeple. But there were several really paid attention, especially some of the couples with children. I got a good amount of intelligent questions, and saw quite a few signs of true interest in the concept.
I think I planted a few seeds this week.
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